Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

EMF Studies

20 August 2011

Dangers to Pregnant Women of Wireless Technologies

The other day I saw a woman in the supermarket who had given her cell phone to her baby who was around one year old, to play with while she shopped.  The baby was holding the phone and placing it in his mouth!  When I looked closer at the woman, I saw that she was pregnant.

The best advice for pregnant women to limit exposure to electromagnetic fields:  carry the cell phone away from the body and use it only in emergencies with a speaker.  Only use a computer with a flat screen and without Wi-Fi.

More and more scientific studies are showing that the radiation emitted by cell phones poses a risk to pregnant women and the developing foetus. 

The results of a recent study involving 28,000 7-year-old children indicated that in utero and post-natal exposure of children to cell phones increases the risk of a child developing behavioral problems by 50 per cent at the age of 7.

The results of a 2008 Danish study involving more than 13,000 children, warned that women who use mobile phones during pregnancy were more likely to give birth to children with behavioral problems.  Article on Danish study published by The Independent, UK.   A 2010 study aimed at confirming this study and carried out by the same team, involved 28,000 7-year-old children.  The study results indicated that in utero and post-natal exposure of children to cell phones increases the risk of a child developing behavioral problems by 50 per cent at the age of 7.  Article about second Danish study which was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health in December 2010. 
-  In a four-year Swiss study recently completed by the Swiss National Science Foundation, scientists identified one action area:  fetuses during pregnancy.  “Researchers simulated the amount of electromagnetic radiation that reaches unborn babies in the third, seventh and ninth month of pregnancy and found that the levels to which a fetus was exposed lay above the permissible threshold if the mother had maximum exposure at the workplace.”  The Swiss Federal Office for Public health said there were “potential risks” to pregnant women.  Article from Swiss National Science Foundation.  

-  The latest news, published in August in the journal, “Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine” is that exposure of mothers to high levels of electromagnetic radiation during pregnancy could increase the risk of asthma in their children.   Article on résumé of research

-   In its 2009 cell phone radiation review, the United States Environmental Working Group (EWG) stated that behavioral problems could develop in children whose mothers used cell phones during pregnancy.  It could also cause sterility and miscarriages.  In animal studies, scientists have found that exposure during gestation to radiofrequency radiation like that emitted by cell phones is associated with decreased fetal growth, developmental abnormalities, and death of offspring (BioInitiative 2007; Heynick 2003). In occupational health studies for female physiotherapists, conducted in Sweden, Israel, and Finland, scientists found that workplace exposure to radiofrequency radiation during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight, congenital malformations, fetal death, and spontaneous abortions (Kallen 1982; Lerman 2001; Taskinen 1990).  EWG article.

The “Children’s Wireless Protection Act”, drawn up by the Pennsylvania legislature in April 2011 to inform citizens about possible health dangers linked to electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones, states that “children, fetuses and the reproductive capacities of men and women are the most vulnerable” to this type of radiation. 

-    The resolution adopted in May by the Parliamentary Assembly recommends that all 47 Member States “put in place information and awareness-raising campaigns on the risk of potentially harmful long-term biological effects on the environment and human health, especially targeting children, teenagers and young people of reproductive age.”   Council of Europe resolution 1815.

Governing authorities in the United States are becoming more aware of the risks of cell phone radiation and ensuring that this information is more accessible to consumers.  Just recently, San Francisco’s Mayor Edwin M. Lee signed an ordinance aimed at protecting the consumer’s right to know about the potential risks of cell phone radiation. The San Francisco ordinance, the first of its kind in the United States, requires retail shops to display posters and distribute fact sheets to inform cell phone buyers about cell phone radiation and how to reduce their exposure to these emissions. 

The information about the risks of cell phone radiation has to be made more visible to the general population and not remain buried in official government documents.  This is an excellent start.   It is hoped that similar consumers' and government initiatives will spread throughout the United States and other parts of the world.

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